Freddy Adu

Fredua Koranteng "Freddy" Adu (born June 2, 1989 in Tema, Ghana) is a soccer player who competes for the United States men's national soccer team. At the age of 14, he became the youngest professional athlete in modern American team sports history when he signed a professional contract with Major League Soccer, the top league of the United States soccer pyramid. Adu is regarded as one of the most exciting young players in the world. Adu left Ghana with his family in 1997 and is now a resident of Potomac, Maryland. In 2003 he became a U.S. citizen.

Adu grew up in the port city of Tema in Ghana, where he played football barefoot against men three times his age. When he was eight, his mother won an immigration lottery, and he and his family moved to Washington D.C. Soon thereafter, he was discovered by a local soccer coach and began playing with boys several years older. While playing with the U.S. Olympic Development Program in Italy in successive annual trips, he played spectacularly in two tournaments. Adu was noticed by Italian soccer clubs, including Inter Milan who discussed a six-figure offer for him that was turned down by his mother on the advice of his agents.

Major European teams in the United Kingdom also explored the possibility of signing Adu but did not due to employment legislation in Britain that states players cannot join FA Premier League teams professionally until they turn 17; before this they are limited to very low paying apprenticeship contracts. Adu's agent opted for a contract in the United States, partially because of the financial situation, but also because joining MLS gave the young player the opportunity to play professional soccer very near to his new home in Potomac, Maryland. There is also a FIFA rule prohibiting the international transfer of children (under 18).

At age 13, Adu joined the Bradenton Academy, U.S. Soccer’s full-time residency program in Florida, in January 2002. He made his professional debut in Major League Soccer the following year at just 14, and now plays for the United States Under-20 national side.

Adu played for the United States in two tournaments in 2003, the FIFA U-17 World Championship in Finland and the World Youth Championship in the United Arab Emirates.

In order to allow Adu to play close to home, MLS assigned him to D.C. United on November 18, 2003, working a deal with the Dallas Burn who owned the top pick in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft. Dallas was compensated with a player allocation. Having already signed with D.C. United, Adu effectively became the first player selected, in that draft, two months before it officially took place. (D.C. United is the same team that signed American youngsters Bobby Convey in 2000 at 16 and Santino Quaranta in 2001 at 16 years, four months of age, each at the time the youngest MLS player.)

On April 3, Adu came on in United's first game of the 2004 season against the San Jose Earthquakes as a second-half substitute, making him the youngest player to appear in United States professional sports since 1887. The next youngest was fifteen-year-old Joe Nuxhall, who played Major League Baseball in Ohio in 1944. On April 17, Adu scored his first professional goal in the 75th minute of a 3-2 away loss against the MetroStars.

In his first season as a professional, Adu complained about playing time, and finished the year with five goals and three assists, while playing in all 30 regular season games. Although briefly a starter, Adu was relegated to a substitute when D.C. United acquired central midfielder Christian Gómez midseason, and it was in this role that he appeared in United's MLS Cup victory. He played in three of D.C.'s four playoff games, coming off the bench each time; he tallied one assist in the postseason.

Adu was criticized from a number of different angles in his first season as a professional. Some soccer commentators have suggested that Adu is too young to be playing professionally, and that he needs more time to develop mentally and physically amongst players his own age. Yet, his first two years in the MLS have been punctuated by notable accomplishments including being awarded player of the week and goal of the week multiple times. His continued development, especially of his defensive skills, has led him to become a starting midfielder during the 2006 season. In addition, Adu has been chosen to take spot kicks during DC United's two penalty shootouts, and has not missed.

Adu was invited to his first U.S. senior squad by coach Bruce Arena in January 2006. On January 22, 2006, Adu became the youngest player to compete for the United States Men's National Team when he replaced an injured Eddie Johnson in the 81st minute of a friendly game against Canada. The game ended in a scoreless draw, with Adu earning a yellow card for diving in the 85th minute. Apparently, this game has not tied Adu to the US national team and the current president of U.S. Soccer, Sunil Gulati, says he would not stand in Adu's way if he desired to play for Ghana.

Adu was left off of the U.S. national team when its final 2006 FIFA World Cup roster was chosen. According to Arena, his "best chance of making the World Cup Team was playing regularly for DC United", though he started for United 16 games in the 2005 season.

Goal Date Opponent Site Time Competition

1 3/20/04 Charleston Away 56 Carolina Challenge
2 4/17/04 Metrostars Away 75 MLS
3 5/19/04 LA Galaxy Away 67 MLS
4 8/11/04 Colorado Rapids Home 35 MLS
5 9/11/04 Dallas Burn Home 84 MLS
6 10/2/04 Metrostars Away 16 MLS
7 10/30/04 Metrostars Home 85 MLS Play-offs
8 5/7/05 Columbus Crew Home 71 MLS
9 7/23/05 LA Galaxy Away 90+ MLS
10 8/3/05 Richmond Away 26 US Open Cup
11 8/31/05 Real Salt Lake Home 46+ MLS
12 10/5/05 Real Salt Lake Away 50 MLS
13 6/28/06 Kansas City Away 16 MLS
14 7/12/06 Celtic FC Home 44 FriendlyPermission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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